In my last two installments of “Your Social Media Prescription” we discussed “Social Media 101” – getting your online marketing efforts up and running, and “The Cost of Social Media” – showing you the pros and cons, as well as the true costs associated with social media’s ‘free’ usage.
In this issue, we’ll discuss what you need to know if you decide to refer your social media marketing campaign to an outside provider!
As in your practice, there are several reasons that you may refer to a trusted specialist. Sometimes you need a second opinion. Other times the needs of your patient may fall outside of your scope of practice. Maybe you may not be taking on new patients at the time, so you look to other professionals to help out, or take over those tasks.
The same may be true for your social media marketing. If you are finding that you, or the person that handles your social media in the office:
• logs into your Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter account and just doesn’t know what to say several times a day, or…
• scratches their head trying to figure out how to get your current and potential patients and referral sources engaged, knocking on your door or calling for appointments…
…then you may need to outsource! This is exactly what social media marketing firms do! Not only that, but a properly executed campaign:
• puts you on the leading edge ahead of your competition;
• highlights your expertise in the field; and,
• places you in direct communication with other thought leaders – giving your practice a wonderful boost!
Think about it another way, if you wanted to create a TV commercial, billboard or print ad, you wouldn’t try to do the entire thing in your office, would you? You would hire the experts to listen to your ideas and goals, and then using their expertise – allow them to come up with a campaign that you will love! Social media is no different.
With that being said, use caution! Obviously, as in any business, not everyone out there that claims to be an expert in the field always is. To avoid wasting time, money and getting a bad taste for social media in general, there are several questions you must ask when choosing a firm to represent your social media marketing campaign. Don’t trust this public relations, brand awareness and relationship-building effort to just anyone. Make sure that they know what they’re doing, have a proven history of success, and that their own reputation, platforms and online following are in line with what you would like for your own.
You need to protect your reputation and to help you do so, we’ve provided 12 questions you may want to ask a potential social media marketing partner…
1. First, look at their online profiles (the links should be available on their website). Do they have at least daily activity on each channel of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.? Do they have a decent number of followers? Is their brand aligned with the services that THEY provide? Once you get this data, bring it to their doorstep and ask them about the infrequency/frequency of their posts and the quality – will this be what you are going to do for us?
2. Ask what sets their company a part from other social media marketing firms?
3. Do they work with medical or healthcare related clients now (or in the recent past)?
4. Do they know how to deal/work with the healthcare industry, including rules and regulations, patient privacy and HIPAA, to name a few?
5. Will you be allowed to view and approve all final work before it’s sent out to your audience?
6. Is all of their work done in-house, or do they work with partners during the delivery process?
7. How much of the marketing work on the accounts is automated? Can they give you a percentage?
8. How many people will be working on your account and have access to your passwords?
9. Will they be monitoring your brand through the social media channels they are using?
10. Will they share 3-5 past/current clients that you can speak with about their services?
11. Will you have access to your account(s) during and after the campaign?
12. What happens to your campaign if you stop working with them? Who owns it?
These questions should get you off to a great start. Obviously you want to also ask questions about the campaigns (and how they work), but the questions above should enable you to figure out how credible that potential partner is. Remember – go with your gut. Choose someone you trust or have a good feeling about. If you have distinct reservations, beware.
Remember, social media marketing campaigns can be extremely beneficial in getting the word out about you, your brand, your services and your ‘WOW’ factor!
Should you have any questions about why the above points are important to ask, or have any other questions – be sure to give us a call or send us an email!
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